Jan 22, 2014, 10:00 PM EST
So this is Nicolas Anelka’s defense? His lame, ongoing efforts to defend those controversial actions from last month essentially boil down to this:
He is neither anti-semitic nor racist – he just publicly honors those who might be.
Seriously? That’s what he wants to go with?
Let’s take the West Brom man at his word. Let’s assume for a moment that Anelka truly harbors no anti-Semitic views whatsoever. Let’s take Anelka’s word that his recent, highly controversial celebratory gesture really was, as he continues to suggest, an effort at a benign tribute to his friend, French comedian Dieudonné.
He really wants to “honor” this guy?
Even that is a remarkably silly and thoughtless thing to do, utterly tone deaf at the very least. I suppose we can debate whether players should face sanction for silly, thoughtless acts. Either way, Anelka is currently staring at five-game ban or more if the English FA finds him guilty of making an “abusive” gesture.
A little humble admission of having done something wrong or, at very least brainless, might go a long way here.
We pay tribute to fallen soldiers, to fallen figures, to victims or to the truly oppressed. Sometimes athletes’ celebrations may recognize family members or – and who could ever get upset at this one? – the birth of a child. “Right on,” most of us say to any of that.
But let’s take a quick look at Dieudonné … and then ask, “why pay tribute to such an individual?”
This New York Times story from last year says the spotlight has dimmed significantly on the once-famous French comic.
Dieudonné’s career has gone off the rails. After lashing out at Jews, playing down the importance of the Holocaust in shows and interviews, and becoming politically active in the name of what he calls anti-Zionism, he has become a pariah in France.
And there was this recent piece from Esquire, one that leaves us to wonder if something even more brainless is at work here? “It may have started out as a gesture of defiance but lately it’s turned into a game,” the Esquire article says, where provocateurs look for the most public places to make the gesture.
All of this came out before Anelka’s dim and grim goal celebration on Dec. 28. The point is, everyone paying attention in France knows what this guy Dieudonné is all about. Anelka certainly does.
Anelka and other pro athletes get lots of money; they take plenty out of society. Whether they like it or not, some degree of responsibility comes with that paycheck. They don’t have to use their position for advocacy or public service (although plenty do), but the very least we can expect is that they understand exactly what they are saying or doing with highly public gestures.
Even without warming up all those old debates over “role models,” can’t we agree at very least that there is some responsibility to act in socially responsible ways?
Really, it’s worth asking if the guy thought this thing through one little bit?
Anelka may not be directly promoting or advocating anti-semitism, but how much better is it to honor a guy with a notorious association with it?
Dec 17, 2014, 11:13 PM EST
Could Cole be returning to the Premier League?
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Bad jokes make Christmas.
Dec 17, 2014, 10:10 PM EST
Dec 17, 2014, 8:40 PM EST
Real Madrid cruised past Azul 4-0 and will be the heavy favorites come Saturday.
Dec 17, 2014, 8:01 PM EST
Huge coup for the Dynamo, if they can pull it off.
Dec 17, 2014, 7:05 PM EST
Quick healer, Mr. Aguero.
Dec 17, 2014, 6:02 PM EST
China making a big, big play into soccer.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:09 PM EST
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Dec 17, 2014, 4:40 PM EST
Another strong showing from Spurs.
Dec 17, 2014, 4:39 PM EST
Liverpool shook off their poor form to beat Bournemouth and qualify for the League Cup semi-final.
Dec 17, 2014, 3:42 PM EST
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ICYMI, Mourinho is a big fan of Monsieur Henry.
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Rog and Davo talk Manchester United’s shaming of Liverpool and Arsenal’s return to potency.
Dec 17, 2014, 12:23 PM EST
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Dec 17, 2014, 11:06 AM EST
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Dec 17, 2014, 10:00 AM EST
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Dec 17, 2014, 9:20 AM EST
Liverpool’s star man to spend time with medical specialists from the Red Sox.
Dec 17, 2014, 8:38 AM EST
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Dec 17, 2014, 7:58 AM EST
After Mignolet is dropped, Reds are apparently lining up two replacements for January.
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